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Best Raiders draft picks by round: Fifth round

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Sammy Winder

Now is when we get into the really great value picks. Those selections late in the draft which go on to prove every team that passes on them in the first four rounds wrong. That’s what Hunter Renfrow will try to do. The Raiders made him their pick in the 5th round out of Clemson and he hopes to make his mark as a slot receiver.

Last year’s 5th rounder Maurice Hurst could do the same. He was considered a top ten talent until a heart condition caused him to drop to the fifth. There has been no indication that condition will threaten his life or his career and if he lives up to the talent he displayed at Michigan, he could find his way on this list some day as well.

Also chosen in the fifth round last year was punter Johnny Townsend who was arguably the worst punter in football last season. Unlike the last punter the Raiders drafted. Shane Lechler is also the last great player the Raiders selected in the 5th round and that was 20 years ago. But Lechler isn’t the best ever.

Lester Hayes (1977)

One of those players who if you didn’t know any better would swear they were in the Hall of Fame. Hayes locked down one side of the field for the Raiders for a decade. In that time, he was named to five Pro Bowls and made All Pro once. He also helped lead the Raiders to two Super Bowls.

His best season, he had an NFL modern era record 13 interceptions. That was 1980 when the Raiders would go on to win their second Super Bowl. And in those playoffs, he put of FIVE more interceptions including a pick six in the wild car round win over the Oilers.

Hayes is tied for the franchise record for career interceptions (39) with Willie Brown who made the Hall of Fame long ago as did the corner who played opposite Hayes, Michale Haynes.

The freezing out of Hayes from the Hall is presumably because his generous application of stickum — a goopy substance many NFL players coated their hands and forearms with to help hold onto the ball. Even though it was not illegal and he was far from the only player to use it, including receiver Fred Billetnikoff who is also in the Hall of Fame.

Stickum was banned in 1981. Perhaps not coincidentally that was also the last year any cornerback had more than 10 interceptions in a season.

Honorable Mentions:

Shane Lechler (2000)

Jeff Barnes (1977)

Pete Banaszak (1966)